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How to Back up a Windows 7-based Computer?

This article describes how to manually back up your personal files and settings on Windows 7-based computers as a precautionary measure or to be transferred to another computer or another operating system. This article discusses the use of data transfer tools and standard file copy techniques to complete this.


Back up your files to removable media (external hard disks, DVDs, CDs, or USB memory cards) or to a network location. Do not back up your files to a recovery partition or to the same hard disk on which Windows is installed.

Always store the media that you use for backups in a secure location to prevent unauthorized access to your files. We recommend a fireproof location that is separate from your computer. You may also consider encrypting the backup data.

Under the Four Circumstances - How to Back up a Windows 7-based Computer?


1. Transfer files and settings to another Windows 7-based computer

Windows Easy Transfer enables you to back up all user account files and settings, and then restore those accounts and all the users' files and settings to a new computer. To start Windows Easy Transfer, follow these steps:

  • Click Start , Collapse this imageExpand this image, type windows easy transfer in the Start Search box, and then click Windows Easy Transfer in the Programs list.

  • Follow the instructions to transfer your files and settings.

2. Transfer files and settings to Windows Vista

If you want to move your data from Windows 7 to Windows Vista, use the Windows Vista version of Windows Easy Transfer. To do this, follow these steps:

  • On Windows 7-based computer, insert the Windows Vista CD or DVD.

  • Click to exit the Windows Vista Setup program.

  • Click Start , Collapse this imageExpand this image, click Computer, right-click the CD or DVD drive, and then click Open.

  • Open the support folder, and then open the migwiz folder.

  • Double-click the Migwiz.exe file.

  • Follow the instructions to begin the transfer from Windows 7.

3. Back up current data as a safety precaution

You can use Windows 7 Backup and Restore Center to back up your current data as a safety precaution. Notice that Windows 7 backup and restore data can be restored only on a Windows 7 operating system.

  • Click Start , Collapse this imageExpand this image, type backup in the Start Search box, and then click Backup and Restore in the Programs list.

  • If you are prompted to close programs, make sure that you have saved any open documents and close those programs or click Close Programs.

  • Under Back up or restore your files, click Set up backup.

  • Select where you want to save your backup, and then click Next.

  • Select Let Windows choose or Let me choose, and then click Next.

  • Make the appropriate selections, and then click Next or Save Settings and run backup.

  • The backup will be saved to the backup location.

4. Manually make a copy of files

To manually copy your files to a network location or to removable media such as a removable hard disk drive, CD, DVD, or a USB memory card, follow these steps:

  • Click Start , Collapse this imageExpand this image, click Computer, and then double-click the drive where you currently have Windows 7 installed.

  • Open the Users folder, and then open the user folder from which you want to back up the files.

  • Copy the necessary folders from the user folder to a network location or to removable media.

  • Note To back up data for all users, repeat steps 2 through 3.

Tip: To determine the size of all the files in the user folder, select all the folders, right-click those selected folders, and then click Properties.
The saved files can be copied to any computer. However, you must have related applications installed on that computer to open those individual files.

Note. Not all applications save their files to the user folder. You should make sure that you check other applications and the location their saved files, and then copy those files to the network location or to the removable media.

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